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Practical Course in English, Theory and Practice of the Language and of the Text, II Minors,

20112, II Term

Compensatory Tasks for Seminar 6 I. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) 1. In M. Drabbles The Industrial Scene, task 1 Literary Exercises (p 74), match the following topic sentences to the corresponding paragraph, giving reasons: Lawrences region was an inseparable blend of the rural and industrial, and this is a central image in his work. Bennett is akin to modern environmentalists and to poets with an ambivalent attitude to suburban and provincial life. Lawrence is from a similar background but is more aggressive and critical of the effects of industrial progress (than Bennett). Industrys other face, the spoiled area of the potteries in which Bennett saw beauty after leaving. Lawrence, like is characters, has a love-hate relationship with the surrounding landscape. When successful, Bennett disliked living in such ugliness though he appreciated attempts to improve the scars made by industry. Lawrence also found beauty in the industrial landscape an his feelings for his home region are more heartfelt than Bennetts.

2. Your (critical) response to the following (beginning of) sample essay on the topic of contrasting the two writers(contradictory) attitude/s to their industrialized areas. Born in neighboring boroughs Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire, respectively while living during the full sway of the Victorian industrialization, both Bennett and Lawrence witnessed the process with its distorting impact on the landscape, registering its two sides, which get reflected in their literary works in distinctive ways. What they share is a perception of the equal beauty and ugliness, arousing either mixed feelings or emotional oscillations in them; England can shown nothing more beautiful and nothing uglier than the works of nature and the works of man to be seen within the limits of the country(Bennett); Thats the country of my heart (Lawrence, 1926, letter). Yet there are differences in their registering and representing such attitudes. Bennett for one accepts minimal improvements even if they are not aesthetically pleasant, as better than none, for several reasons - long familiarity, new aesthetic sense of beauty, practical/pragmatic reasons - ; yet he experiences mixed feelings of shame and pride. In his literary representations such as The Old Wives Tales, Clayhanger, Helen with High Hand, or his Journal, he opts for exhaustively evocative accounts, narrowing the panoramic view, retrieving traces of a brighter, cleaner past (pot work, building canals) to be admired, yet simultaneously registering the 2-sided aspects lofty dignity and waste ground-ness -; the latter, a negative one, is getting retrospectively perceived as interesting an appealing, as his character Edward Clayhanger is (relevant quote here). A further contradictory response is manifest in the way Bennett refuses in his later years to live in this unredeemed ugliness although he remains conscious of the need for improvements and sympathetic about for instance green belts even if unlovely; (relevant quote here). He registers and records both the romance of manufacture and machinery and its price on the level of life-style of workers. Significantly, on a return to his place/s, he experiences mingled horror and affection, yet remains akin to the modern environmentalists and poets with ambivalent attitude to provincial suburban life; that is, he was willing to accept lack of beauty even if it meant low artistic standards.

Practical Course in English, Theory and Practice of the Language and of the Text, II Minors,

20112, II Term

Born relatively later and from relatively similar background, Lawrence is less scientific and more impassioned, with a different option about the ontological status of the novel, as criticism of misery; like Bennett, he experiences a similar disgust or recoil, yet he deems that minor improvements are only windowdressing done by employers without sufficient care so as to ease their conscience. Nevertheless from a temporal distance (an absence of some years), Lawrences appreciation of the place grows, although in his literary representations such as - Sons and Lovers, Lady Chatterlys Lover, Women in Love or Correspondence the dominant tonality of painful love registers modulations ranking from his early responsiveness (to hillsides, workers, the pleasures for instance of Paul Morel) to its dissolution as for instance with a character in Lady Chatterlys Lover -, including depiction of the disfiguring elements (mines, housing), all becoming part of a strange interweaving, as reflected in his figurative discourse and character delineation (relevant quotes here). II. E. Hemingways short story; 1. Have a look over section 4 from the annexed/attached Primer on Hemingway, as well as over his Nobel Prize acceptance Speech; 2. After having (a) summed up R. Scholes(semiotic & narratologic) or S. Mills(feminist discourse stylistics) critical demonstration on A Very Short Story(already available on handouts through the Section Librarians), try to (b) compare/contrast their critical strategies, or (c) single out some differences between their arguments, or (d) identify (any) vulnerability in their interpretation or theoretical assumptions; and/or (e) refer to illustrations of cohesion and coherence types/markers (after having checked on the notion in the entries from Key Terms in Stylistics (Course-pack); III. Nadine Gordimers - Town and Country Lovers 1. Postcolonial Criticism: Concerns To reject the claims to universalism made on behalf of canonical Western literature and to seek to show its limitations of outlook, especially its general inability to empathize across boundaries of cultural and ethnic difference; To examine the representation of other cultures in literature as a way of achieving this end; to show how such literature is often evasively and crucially silent on matters concerned with colonization and imperialism; to foreground questions of cultural difference and diversity, and examine their treatment in relevant literary works; to celebrate hybridity and cultural polyvalency, that is, the situation whereby individuals and groups belong simultaneously to more than one culture (for instance that of the colonizer, through a colonial school system, and that of the colonized, though local and oral traditions); to develop a perspective, not just applicable to postcolonial literatures, whereby states of marginality, plurality and perceived Otherness are seen as sources of energy and potential change; 2. Selective Survey of Postcolonial Literatures: Postcolonialism and Feminism Women from numerous societies have been demoted to the position of Other, marginalized, and, metaphorically speaking, colonized. The political medium of oppression and repression associates them to the colonized races and peoples; like them, they have been forced to articulate their experiences using the language of the oppressor, and the only tools they have for constructing a language of their own are those of the latters. Language, voice, concepts of speech and silence, and concepts of mimicry make Feminism and Postcolonialism intersect. Feminist critics decline the universalism of aesthetic value which does not reside in the text, but is historically and culturally determined; moreover, they seek to subvert the patriarchal bases of literary theory and criticism by disclosing their relativity. The evolution of feminism criticism from the essentialist positions of the early 1970s (often rooted in biologic stances) towards more complex subversive positions has increased awareness towards the fact that the principle of difference which is the very foundation of their construction as Other, is the basis of any feminist theory.
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Practical Course in English, Theory and Practice of the Language and of the Text, II Minors,

20112, II Term

According to Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, feminist theory parallels the postcolonial history and concerns in that both seek to reinstate the marginalized in the face of the dominant. (Op cit, 175). There is also a similitude in their evolution, in the sense that early feminist theory, like early nationalist postcolonialism, sought to reverse the structures of domination (e.g., by substituting a female tradition or traditions in place of a male-dominated canon), whereas now it has turned away towards a questioning of forms and modes, to unmasking the assumptions upon which such canonical constructions are founded, moving first to make their cryptic bases visible and then to destabilize them. (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin 176).Another instance of their similarity rests on their re-reading of the classical texts, in their attempt to demonstrate that a canon is not axiomatic and that it can be rebuilt not by simply replacing it in an exchange of texts but by changing the conditions in which the reading occurs. Furthermore, the subversion of the patriarchal literary forms themselves is a part of the feminist project, which, as in the postcolonial texts, may not be a conscious aim of the authors because it may be generated, unavoidably, by the ideological clash within the text itself. Moreover, to a larger extent there has also been a radical questioning of the basic assumptions of dominant systems of language and thought. (Ibid. 176) In this respect, feminist theory has drawn on deconstruction in order to challenge polarized concepts (or binary oppositions) in the dominant language, such as Black and White, which install a false hierarchy within the womens collective. This practice, however, has been far from uncontroversial, although feminist theorists like Julia Kristeva claim its viability as a means of producing a break with tradition and developing new forms of discourse, a practice which is in total agreement with the womens cause. In this respect G.C. Spivak urges caution though, because the practice as such cannot promote a feminist future or put an end to sexism. Therefore, deconstruction and politics should go hand in hand, in order that an audible feminist voice should be constructed. The feminist projects are oriented towards the future, positing societies in which social and political hegemonic shifts have occurred. Feminism has not in general provided postcolonial criticism with a model or models because its development has been rather as a coincident and parallel discourse. However, the intersections between the two are crucial, for instance in the work of writers such as Jean Rhys, Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood and so on. At the same time, critics like G.C. Spivak are beginning to draw the two discourses together. 3. Life under Apartheid; Nadine Gordimer Six Feet of the Country In The Empire Writes Back, Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin discuss the problem of the apartheid literature of South Africa; in their opinion, the racist politics of the South African apartheid created a political vortex into which much of the literature of the area, both Black and white, were drawn. As a result, the common themes of the literatures of settler colonies exile, the problem of finding and defining home, physical and emotional confrontations with the new land and its ancient and established meanings are still present in literature by white South Africans, but are muted by an immediate involvement in race politics. The same goes, they assert, for the Black South African writing: while retaining the themes which are pervasive in the Kenyan or Nigerian literature dispossession, cultural fragmentation, colonial and neo-colonial domination, postcolonial corruption and the crisis of identity these are nevertheless overshadowed by the prominence of more specific problems of race and personal and communal freedom under an intransigent and repressive white regime. Nadine Gordimers short story is a touching and interesting expression of the relationship between whites and blacks in the tense social environment created by apartheid politics. Told from a white narrators perspective, the story outlines the cruel reality of a 20th century country in which the relations among humans still forefront the skin-colour criterion. Two subsequent races are thus created: the masters and the slaves(Hlne Cixous). It would be superfluous to say which is which. Attempting to escape from the tension of the city, the narrator and his wife, Lerice (a former actress), buy a farm ten miles out of Johannesburg, the narrator still keeping his job as partner in a travel agency in the city. Given the place and the political situation, however, we are told what tension means in the South African context: When Johannesburg people speak of tension, they dont mean hurrying people in crowded streets, the struggle for
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Practical Course in English, Theory and Practice of the Language and of the Text, II Minors,

20112, II Term

money, or the general competitive character of city life. They mean the guns under the white mens pillows and the burglar bars on the white mens windows. They mean those strange moments on city pavements when a black wont stand aside for a white man. (Gordimer, op cit.) This is why life in the country is considered to be better, even though the relationship between whites and blacks is almost feudal, more comfortable though. Nevertheless, it is hard to overlook the narrators sympathetic tone towards his black farm boys who enjoy a somewhat safe atmosphere under the couples care. Where does the couples attitude towards the poor devils arise from, one might enquire? Is it from a feeling of pity, superiority, or simply from perceiving their workers humanness? Perhaps it is all of them. It is Lerice, after all, who sees after the workers and their childrens health. During one night, the couple is woken up by one of their boys Albert who lets them know that one of the boys is very sick. Later on the narrator discovers with some degree of irritation that the (now dead) sufferer was in fact Petruss (one of his workers) brother, who had walked down all the way from Rhodesia to look for work in Johannesburg. In this way, he had caught a chill from sleeping out along the way and had lain ill in his brother Petruss hut since his arrival three days before. (Gordimer, op cit). As an illegal immigrant, Petruss brother was following all the other Rhodesian illegal immigrants dream of reaching the paradise of zoot suits, police raids, and black slum townships that Johannesburg was. It is at this point that the narrator realises the responsibility he has for his workers. Consequently, he is the one who takes care of the bureaucratic aspect of the body disposal. The autopsy confirms the narrators supposition that the young mans death was caused by pneumonia. But phoning to the Health Department a few days later, he finds out that the authorities have also buried the body without inquiring whether the deceased had any relative to take care of this or not. At the point one question might arise: would the authorities have proceeded in the same manner if the young man were white? And, after all, doesnt this attitude display lack of respect towards the natives culture and tradition? However, given the political and social context, this is viewed as disconcertingly normal and it is the narrator who has to accept his own stupidity for showing concern towards his black workers in the face of those possessed by the master-race theory. And since Petrus is determined to find his brother and bury him properly, the narrator will become the intermediate link between his worker and the authorities. This situation discloses another troubling facet of apartheid: the racist politics sends its tentacles towards the act of communication as well; in other words, the natives are (literally and metaphorically) silenced by the colonial authority either through the imposition of English in their world, or simply by not allowing the natives the freedom of speech. Nevertheless, even though the native speaks the colonizers language, the fact that his skin is not the right colour puts him in an inferior position. So the narrator will function as an agent of the system of power that silenced that individual in the first place. The price Petrus has to pay for retrieving his brothers body is twenty pounds his four months wages. However, he decides to pay them without any hesitation, even though this money is more than he spent to clothe his whole family in a year. (Gordimer, op cit). It is a gesture whose utility the narrator fails to grasp. As member of a culture in which life is regarded as something to be spent extravagantly while death as the final bankruptcy he cannot realize perhaps that the natives culture is deeply rooted in respect for their dead which they express through the rituals accompanying the burial ceremony; thus the soul will find its peace. The powerful social contrast determined by racial criteria is revealed in the scene in which Petrus handles the money to the narrator: Please baas, he said, awkwardly handling me a bundle of notes. Theyre so seldom on the giving rather than on the receiving side, poor devils, they dont really know how to hand the money to a white man. There it was, the twenty pounds, in ones and in halves, some creased and folded until they were soft as dirty rags, others smooth and fairly new Franzs money, I suppose, and Alberts, and Dara the cooks and Jacob the gardeners, and God knows who elses besides, from all the farms and small holdings round about. (Gordimer, op cit). Petruss father receives a special permit to come from Rhodesia to South Africa, and so he attends the funeral as well. In the day in which the burial is supposed to take place, it is by pure chance that the narrator witnesses and later on is involved in what is supposed to be the accomplishment of his and Petruss efforts. When the procession passes by him, a dramatic incident occurs: the coffin placed in a cart pulled by two donkeys (Biblical symbol of meekness) peculiarly suited () to the group of men and women who came along
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Practical Course in English, Theory and Practice of the Language and of the Text, II Minors,

20112, II Term

slowly behind (Gordimer, op cit), is raised by four men on their shoulders (one of them being Petruss father) to be put it into the grave. Overwhelmed by the coffins weight, Petruss father pulls himself out from under it while muttering something which apparently makes the attendants of the procession feel embarrassed and confused; they cannot ignore his voice and they listen to it as if the mumblings of a prophet, though not clear at first, arrest the mind. (Gordimer, oit, p 102). He goes directly to the narrator uttering words the latter cannot understand, yet he perceives from the tone of the old mans voice that what he says is shocking and extraordinary. Through Petruss intermediation he learns that the coffin is too heavy for such a thin boy that the old mans son was. Eventually, they decide to remove its lid and what they discover inside is outrageous: the body they struggled for weeks to recover belongs to a complete stranger: a heavy built, rather light-skinned native with a neatly stitched scar on his forehead perhaps from a blow in a brawl that had also dealt him some other, slower-working injury that had killed him. (Gordimer, op cit,103). Questioned over the matter, the authorities seem to be shocked, in a laconic fashion, by their own mistake, but in the confusion of their anonymous dead they were helpless to put it right. (Gordimer, op cit. 103). Petrus will retrieve neither his brothers body nor his money, because nobody really knew where he was buried. And with every day that passes, it is even more certain that a young man, who walked the seven or eight hundred miles from poverty to the paradise of South Africa, is bound to remain six feet of the country for ever, anonymous. It is the narrator, after all, who concludes with bitter irony that he had no identity in this world anyway. The same ironic function is evinced in the last paragraph of the short story - The old man from Rhodesia was about Lerices father size, so she gave him one of her fathers suits, and he went back home rather better off for the winter, than he had come only to emphasize the futility of the natives struggle to retain their identity and dignity in a society whose pyramidal apex does its best to keep them away from the human status.

4. Assignment; choose 1 from the following: (a) find evidence about postcolonial tenets and (postcolonial) feminist discourse in Town and Country Lovers; (b) trace out similarities between the 2 parts of the same short story; (c) single out some key quotes in both parts and do stylistic analysis; (d) by what strategies are the endings foreshadowed (theoretical survey on handout attached) ? (e) distinguish between narrator-type/s, focalizer-type/s (Key Terms in Stylistics, or chart attached) with effects in the same text; IV. 2 -3 oral presentations in plenary (a remedial one on M Drabbles, & 2 on N Gordimers text), with an outline/plan, preliminarily submitted to the Instructors attention (in person, on this Friday, 7 p m).